I Am Crushingly Disappointed In My Garmin Fenix 5 — It Counted 8,000 Steps While I Was On A Bus!
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We were in Acadia for 5-days, and as is always the case when I am there, I was racking up the steps because that place begs you to hike. We had great, even exceptional weather, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday — but it bucketed down on Thursday. This was our 11th trip to Acadia in 5-years and we expect a day or two of rain. So, no big deal. One of our rainy-day activities is to take the FREE, L.L. Bean ‘Island Explorer’ bus from Bar Harbor all the way to Bernard on the other side of the Island and back. Mindless. Just sit in the bus and watch all the familiar landmarks in the rain. We always sit in the very back, on the long bench seat because that amuses Teischan. But, it is very bouncy and ‘slippery’ back there and in addition to getting jostled I do have to grab at seat backs and seat belts to stop from sliding around.
We had got to Southwest Harbor and was going up a small incline when my ‘GOAL’ buzzer went off. It was for meeting 10-floors of elevation, i.e., 100 feet. That surprised me since I had only done about 30′. Then I realized it was the barometric altimeter registering the elevation gains while I was in the bus. I was willing to overlook that. But, it made me look at my steps. I was flabbergasted! It had me having done around 5,000 steps, and I knew I had only done around 1,000 that day. So, I started monitoring the steps. They were going up like CRAZY.
At the end of the 3 hour bus ride it was showing in excess of 9,000 steps! 8,000 of those were BOGUS. I was CRUSHED and I still am.
I understand that the accelerometer sees the motion, BUT for whatever reason I had assumed that the Fenix 5 would have had algorithms that sorted that out. Not so.
I Googled. Yes, it is a problem across all activity trackers.
Now that I am retired I do not spend much time inside vehicles. I can easily go 4 to 5 days, sometimes even longer, without ever riding in a vehicle. I run and walk. So, I had NOT noticed these miscounted steps before.
On Friday, on the way back, I decided to keep track. I was driving our Nissan Quest which is a much smoother ride than the bus. For about an hour I did not see any missteps counted. Then, I saw 30 getting counted very quickly. Overall, in what was a 4.5 hour drive I saw 80 steps added. I can live with that. HUGE difference between 80 and 8,000.
Garmin should have a widget that disables step & floor counting. So, when you get in a vehicle you just activate that widget. It will monitor heart rate and stress but not steps or elevation. That should be trivial to implement.
I am CRUSHED. Now, I don’t trust any of the step counts.